I just met her… but I think Sarah wants me dead

I am currently sitting in the Planet Fitness lounge waiting for my daughter to finish her workout.

Every muscle in my body hurts and I just had a hydro massage so I’m also very relaxed.

How did I get here?

I have been a black card member of Planet Fitness for 4 days. And I have spent a lot of time in the gym since then.

You see, I am on vacation. I am between jobs, my new professional non-profit development and marketing position starts Monday and I worked my last long shift in retail food service last Saturday. I will still keep my Target gig on Saturdays for a while, I’ve got a lot of vacation to use and I do love my “Target family.”

But that is another story.

This is a story about getting my daughter access to the gym she needs, and it turns out maybe the gym I need, too.

We visited and toured Planet Fitness on Tuesday afternoon because their $21.99/month no contract Black Card membership allows my teen to work out with me. Or a friend. Every single time. I joined. Because we have no contract, I really couldn’t lose.

The teen insists all she needs to lose the weight her doctor wants to see her shed is the right gym.

So we played around on Tuesday and signed up for design your own program on Wednesday. Or was it Monday and Tuesday? Sarah, the trainer, customized a program for me, the member, but also one for my daughter, a guest.

We didn’t get through all of it so we returned to finish the next day. The teen seems to be enthusiastic.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been taking two 30 minute classes a day with Sarah, not because I’m a masochistic (though I suppose I am) but because I want to learn as much as I can about this gym while I have the time.

That said, I think Sarah wants me dead. Just kidding. She’s a trainer. She’s supposed to push you hard.

I’ve taken back and triceps, PF 360 strength, core (twice) and the 30-minute circuit. Sadly, she took Thursday off as part of the hiring process for a new job so I wasn’t able to take classes with her Thursday. And she’ll be leaving very soon.

But I’ve noticed as she’s learned what I am capable of, she’s expected more of me. And even though I haven’t done any of her bicep classes, my arms are killing me. And I haven’t done any of her cardio classes, but I sweat until my hair is drenched as soon as she enters the vicinity.

Yup. She will be missed.

A new fitness journey

Five years ago, I broke my right hand in an accident at work.

I had never broken a bone before, so while a cast was interesting (and rather pungent) I learned a lot about muscle atrophy.

After a mere three weeks in a cast, my right hand was damn weak.

Now, I had had some experience with weight training and gyms on and off since college. I always liked weight training. So, i started working out at home.

I had also gained weight, about ten pounds on my small frame. I had never tried to lose weight before and when I decided to lose weight, I lost 30 pounds in less than six weeks. I became a pretty ripped little skeleton.

Circa 2016 (Not my lowest weight)

My daughter teased me that I didn’t need a bra because I didn’t have boobs anymore. 112 is grossly thin for me.

I became the first person on earth to need a Fitbit to make sure I ate enough.

And through healthy eating and weight training I gained back 20 pounds. I have been every size from a zero to a twelve in my lifetime.

Tonight I weigh 133.

My daughter, on the other hand, has struggled with her weight. And finding activities she enjoys is part of the problem.

I belong to the gym where my husband works, but she can’t use the weight room there until she’s 16. She’s 14 and three-quarters.

She went to the pediatrician today to follow-up on an urgent care visit for a sprained ankle. She has grown to almost five-foot-three. That means she has less than an inch to catch me!

But her pediatrician says she should weigh between 100-115 pounds.

That is too thin, in my opinion.

But it needs to be addressed. So we decided to explore Planet Fitness.

Why Planet Fitness?

Because their Black Card membership is $22/month. No money down, no contract. It allows me to bring a guest every time AND that guest can be my teen daughter.

More on that next time….

The human experience of the Thin Mint Sprint

I have anticipated this 5K for a long time. My training started in November, paused for the Holidays, resumed in mid-January, paused in February for an illness caught from my daughter and then in March I dropped a 15-lb dumbbell on my toe, which is still a little sore and definitely swollen.

So last week, I could finally resume training, but new routines at work have made that difficult too. And my training partner and other half for this run is my almost-fourteen-year-old daughter who gave up on running weeks ago.

Three years ago, I swore I would get in shape before my fortieth birthday. And I did. At that time, I had explored some walk-run 5K events with my friend Gayle and found the Yuengling Lager Jogger. After the first year running for beer, I vowed to try and run my next one.

And two years ago (April 11) I finished the Lager Jogger is 44-minutes something.

Now, the Girl Scouts have hosted a fitness series of three events. I attended the orienteering style one at Camp Laughing Waters with Gayle and her niece and my daughter. My daughter planned to attend the second event, a walk-run through the camp, but she ended up with bronchitis and I wouldn’t let her attend the race in the race with a troublesome set of lungs.

Then Gayle registered me, the girls, and her nephew for the Thin Mint Sprint in Wissahicken/Fairmont Park outside Philadelphia. The sign “Welcome to Philadelphia” is on park grounds.

I have always wanted to run a 5K, and run it. It didn’t happen today, but I did shave two minutes off previous times for a new personal best. Well, except for the times in training that I came in at 38-39 minutes. That was when training was working.

But I want to tell some stories from the day.

And maybe start with some quick asides:

  1. The portapotties were nastier and covered with more human feces than anything I ever saw in Africa, and that includes facilities with no running water.
  2. Parking was awful but the park was so gorgeous it is quickly forgotten.
  3. There is a rustic coffee house IN the park.
  4. I’m sorry, but strollers do not belong in 5Ks.

So onto MY experience…

I love how other runners will say kind things to you.

The first half mile was physically easy but breathing was difficult. At mile marker one, I would have traded my first born for water.

I reached the road (that actually had cars on it) that the race route crossed WHILE TRAFFIC WAS STOPPED. The cars were waiting for us and backed up for what seemed like miles and I was part of that initial horde for whom officials stopped traffic. That was awesome.

I thought the first half was all downhill, so I expected, since the race was an out-and-back, the second half would be uphill. It also seemed to be downhill. How was this possible?

I had a lot of what I call “little disappointments.” I couldn’t get my new iPhone X to start MapMyFitness so I had no idea “how I was doing.” I felt most of the way, that I wasn’t performing as well as I had wanted myself to perform. I had to let go of those thoughts.

By the time I reached the finish line, pushing down that final hill, running… I saw the clock at 42-minutes something and I was overwhelmed. Not with any discernible emotion, just overwhelmed. Hot. (It was 80 degrees and I have never run in temperatures over 70). Dehydrated. (I drank 25 ounces of water before the race and the cup in the middle.) Tired. Proud. Disappointed. Happy. Crying. Smiling.

Thin Mint Sprint results posted…

Today we tackled the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Thin Mint Sprint at one of the prettiest parks I have ever seen.

I refused to let myself think too much about the competitive aspects of the race as this winter has knocked me out: first illness, than a 15 lb dumbbell falling from the sky and physical exhaustion from changes at work.

And I’m 40-something with my own health issues. And I can’t get motivated to do anything when it’s cold.

I did an average pace of 13:48 minute mile. Far cry from the 8 and 10 minute miles of the serious runners but at 42:49.5 it was my fastest 5k to date.

It was an amazing family event with so many good snacks from Whole Foods and such enthusiasm from the event staff.

My goal was to break 40 minutes. I didn’t get there; but I did improve my time compared to my performance at the Lager Jogger two years ago. I was 44-minutes something then.

The Thin Mint Sprint approaches…

I went for a run.

My 5k is Saturday. The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Thin Mint Sprint happens on Saturday in Philadelphia.

I don’t have an accurate time for my run today, as I didn’t take my phone so it wouldn’t distract me. I did more than 3 miles in about 42 minutes.

The last time I tried to run a 5k, two years ago at the Yuengling Lagger Jogger, I came in at 44 minutes. I feel a little disappointed that I haven’t returned to my previous good training times of 38 and 39 minutes.

But after almost breaking my toe and weathering winter illness, training has not been part of my routine for at least a month.

I have many friends reminding me to do my best and have fun, but my competitive nature wants to do well.

And I want to actually run… but I’m still pausing to catch my breath frequently.

Less than one month out

I am not the most athletic person in the world. I am clutzy and awkward and have a gait from my cerebral palsy. I have struggled with severe anemia. And broken bones (one dominant hand, four years ago on Monday; one right ankle, two years ago come late August).

I vowed to get in shape before I turned 40 because of the lessons these ailments taught me. How quickly strength deteriorates. How weakness can sap energy and leave you a tired heap. How walking becomes impossible if I let myself go.

I changed my eating habits. My exercise habits. I seriously started weight training.

I tried to motivate my teen daughter to be active.

And in the height of my fitness craze, I admitted to my girlfriend that someday I wanted to run a 5K. Not walk. Run.

Two years later, she signed me up for one. Training started well, in my half-hearted lazy way. These were my best times: 41:47.91, 41.45.88, 38:51.28.

 

img_4480Two months out from the race my daughter and I got sick with the weirdest head cold.

Regained my strength from that, and tried to go for my second, outdoor, three-mile run. I got caught in a snow squall. Between the cold, the oscillating snow and sun, and my sheer out-of-shapedness, I surrendered at two miles.

Finally, a few days later, I was ready to get out there and do it. I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell on my toe.

It’s not broken.

img_4841But I’m not running on it.

This race is going to kill me.

In Training

My teen and I have officially begun training for our 5k in April. In the past, we have always participated in walk/runs but this time it’s just a run.

My girlfriend Gayle registered us, and I could say she tricked me. I agreed without remembering what I was agreeing to. But Gayle knew this was on my bucket list.

A lot of things are on my bucket list, like seeing Syria and Afghanistan. Learning Arabic & Afrikaans & Euskara. Cleaning my damn house. Building a stealth camping van and living off the grid.

Running a 5k was one I thought of when I was thin and in shape. Since then I’ve gained ten pounds and broken an ankle.

So my teen and I have started the LiveWell program 3 weeks to a 30 minute a day running habit. We had to repeat week one as child came down with bronchitis.

She hasn’t really trained with me in a week, so I’ve reached the interval of run 2 minutes/walk one minute x 7 sets.

We train at the local college so instead of minutes we do laps around the indoor raised jogging track. One lap = 1/10 of a mile.

The last time I trained (I ran a mile with child on rest day), I did this routine: 2 minutes running/1 minute walking x 5; then 1 minute running/ 1 minute walking x 5. The first mile I can complete consistently day after day in 14 minutes.

On my last training run, I thought, “why is this taking so long?” 30+ minutes and I wasn’t done. Then I realized, I ran 2.5 miles in 39 minutes.

And I’ve also realized I don’t do well with the cold, uneven terrain and hills. The jogging track fixes that. And even better, I like logging/tracking distance versus time.